We need to talk about costs

Discuss model railway topics and news that do not fit into other sections.
Byegad
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Byegad » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:34 am

I think @Mountain has got it right. While a quad track with branch line layout with one end being in the next time zone is what many people would like, including DCC control with sound on all locos being a 'must'. Most of us cannot afford the room or money to realise this.
You can have lot of fun with a simple Terminus on a branch line with only one loco. Making your own stuff is not for everyone, but it can be done, and enjoyed by most.

Bigmet
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Bigmet » Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:04 pm

b308 wrote:Are the prices really rising by too much? I've noticed some new locos have higher prices, but that is reflected in the fact that the mechanisms are much better than the ones they replace and they have more detail so a rise is to be expected. A while ago I was reading a thread on the subject of comparing prices now and back in the days when i was a kid (60s/70s) which came to the conclusion that there was little difference in "true" costs, adjusted for inflation, but that current models are far better detailed and better value...


This is on the money. Compared to disposable income, (and that's what matters, the cash you have available to spend on fun purchases) RTR OO model railway product is cheaper than it was in the 1960s, and way better in all respects. The difference is that 50 odd years ago, railway modellers felt they were getting somewhere if they had three locos to operate on their modest layout, or more likely on the club layout...

muggins
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby muggins » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:31 pm

Bigmet wrote:
b308 wrote:... 50 odd years ago, railway modellers felt they were getting somewhere if they had three locos to operate on their modest layout ...


I thought I'd arrived when I finally had three wagons to put between my one loco (the Tri-ang Jinty) and my brake van!

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GeraldH
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby GeraldH » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:08 am

It is possible to spend a great deal of money if one buys the latest locos, rolling stock and scenic items. You can, however, have a lot of fun on a budget. I often pick up wagons for a couple of quid at collectors fairs. My ballast is used tea-leaves and my platform benches are made from old coffee stirrers. I also make a lot of use of old cereal packets and clear plastic packing for glazing :) .
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argent
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby argent » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:41 pm

I thought I might add my thoughts onto this post, as sometime ago I had a similar conversation with my wife (she is in retail).
while some manufactures drop prices to clear old stock or the packaging has changed, so to keep the shelves looking nice with the new look there are price reductions. simple economics, cut the profit on old stock because when the new stock hits the shelf it will sell well because it will look better with 'new' written all over it.

Now as for well branded goods, there may, in some cases be a slight reduction but not enough to be a bargain. for example, you will never see Parker or Waterman pens or Lindt chocolate on a cheap offer. even if it has a short best before date. the retailers are told to dump it into skips. selling it off cheap would de-value the brand. and that ladies and gentlemen is the reason I'm a bit over weight, well OK!, a lot overweight.,

You would be amazed at what gets binned....and why it gets binned. new labeling, too costly to store it or transport it to warehouses.
After the January sales is the best time to go 'dumpster diving', not that I have to, my wife lets her staff have first dibs on everything from tablets to organizers, books and stationary to art and craft supplies, pens and paints and of course some brands of chocolate. She believes it criminal to dump it.
she also puts small items aside for play schools and charity Christmas shoe box presents

So yes, manufacturer of well known modelss, Hornby, Bachmann etc. could reduce the selling price on 'new' old models but they won't as it would devalue the brand and all they would sell in bulk would be the new-old models. No longer is it said that Chinese goods are cheap and cheerful as the models coming out of there these days show and it is a good move to have these models made there. cheaper and less detailed models could be made but we won't buy them would we?

Nick

Bigmet
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Bigmet » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:31 am

Argent, you should show your wife the Hattons operation if she is not already aware of it. The complete antithesis to modern consumer goods marketing. We'll keep it in stock, even if it takes forty years to sell...

b308
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:55 am

I think that applies to all Model Railway Shops. I suppose being one man businesses in the main and having limited turnover and profits mean they have to sell everything. I doubt you'd see any MR retailer chucking stuff in a bin, though sometimes they'll discount to clear but only after they've tried every other way to sell the stuff!

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Bufferstop
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:57 am

I did a rough calc on pay and prices. Seems that when Triang first released a set with Nellie, a couple of wagons and a circle of track it cost the same proportion of the average weekly wage as a basic set costs today. Except of course that the current basic 0-4-0 doesn't have an X03 motor grinding away like a coffee maker. So what has happened is, both Hornby and Bachmann took advantage of the low production costs in China to bring us better models at knock down prices. China has caught up, the production costs are now comparable and current prices are just where fifty years of inflation would have put them. There are various "standard prices" by which you can compare prices historically. As well as comparing to the average weekly income, you can use the minimum hourly rate, the average skilled hourly rate, the price of a bag of chips, a Mars bar and many other enduring regular purchases. This "correction" to the price of models was forecast when prices from China were at their lowest. The prediction was right, we should "get over it" and go back to saving up for what are luxuries.
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b308
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:17 pm

Chances are production will move to the next cheapest place, probably India, before moving again to Africa...

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Ken Shabby
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Ken Shabby » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:17 pm

Although I wasn't happy about the rising prices I would of been prepared to accept them If it wasn't for the decline in quality control.
For the last decade this and other model railway forums have been full of posts about mazak failure, locos arriving with detail parts broken off or badly super glued back on, or motors that go up in smoke after a couple of weeks. All the locos my late father bought me back in the 80's still work. They may be crude and toy like to some modellers , but they can be made to work well and are easy to service .
Around 30% of the locos I've bought new in recent years have either had to be returned immediately or have developed faults within the first year.
Because of this I only buy one of two new locos a year. and have instead concentrated on older 2nd hand locos.

Ken

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Mountain
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Mountain » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:11 pm

Bufferstop wrote:I did a rough calc on pay and prices. Seems that when Triang first released a set with Nellie, a couple of wagons and a circle of track it cost the same proportion of the average weekly wage as a basic set costs today. Except of course that the current basic 0-4-0 doesn't have an X03 motor grinding away like a coffee maker. So what has happened is, both Hornby and Bachmann took advantage of the low production costs in China to bring us better models at knock down prices. China has caught up, the production costs are now comparable and current prices are just where fifty years of inflation would have put them. There are various "standard prices" by which you can compare prices historically. As well as comparing to the average weekly income, you can use the minimum hourly rate, the average skilled hourly rate, the price of a bag of chips, a Mars bar and many other enduring regular purchases. This "correction" to the price of models was forecast when prices from China were at their lowest. The prediction was right, we should "get over it" and go back to saving up for what are luxuries.


Wrote a whole reply. It has gone!

Basically, I saw prices double after a survey done by one of the manufacturers asking how much we spend on the hobby and do we think we will spend more or less in the future.
This was before the recession hit, and was around the time the two big manufacturers took on massive loans to buy out their competition and also expand into new markets.
Unfortunately recession then hit, and people just didn't have the money to spend that they used to, so the market had to adjust accordingly, hence the lower production numbers per model and the increasing retail prices (I noticed that models nearly doubled in price again but not quite).
Since then, prices have gone up year by year at a steady growth which is slightly above what one would expect with inflation.

Now it could be that prices had been too cheap in the past? But there again, production in the past for Hornby when based in the UK, and they had kept prices at fairly constant levels for quite a few years. (Not much in the way of price rizes in those days other then to keep up with inflation, and when the 15% VAT hiked up to 17.5%).

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End2end
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby End2end » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:18 pm

After reading all posts in this thread I'd summerise by saying... luxury goods will always demand luxury prices.
Hobbies definatly fall into that catagory.
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b308
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:41 pm

Mountain wrote:Since then, prices have gone up year by year at a steady growth which is slightly above what one would expect with inflation.


But as we've said, Mountain, it's nothing to do with inflation here in the UK. The goods are made in China and the labour costs have gone up way above any inflation figures for the UK. Those costs have been passed down to us, hence cost increases above UK inflation rates. Please remember that model railway manufacture is a global business and therefore manufacturing costs are not related to anything that happens in the UK.

Dad-1
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Dad-1 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:29 pm

I do wonder if ngauger is some kind of spoof ? Only ever posted in this one thread.
Is cost all his life is about ? This is in effect a luxury hobby for a sizeable minority
of people.
It can be expensive, but unlike our OP's computers, what we have (in the past) bought
will last for years, and years as well as having a possible resale value, sometimes not
far from the original new purchase price.

I suppose railroad locos are rubbish ……. But my latest posting in layouts section for
Two Short Planks shows a railroad loco that cost under £20 in 2008 still doing the business
pulling a train of kit built wagons. The layout also of 2008-9 vintage still works fine.
That is unlike computers ngauger likes to point fingers to that become outdated in a
few years. Win98, to XP, through several other issues that now will no longer work for
emailing. I've had better value for money from my railway stuff, if simply because it's
shelf life is so much longer !!

From someone who hates Win10, but has had to migrate to it because XP is simply too
old for my Bank, Email, YouTube to work properly. what next ? whatever it'll cost £400 +
and not last like my railway stuff !!

Geoff T
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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Michaelaface
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Michaelaface » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:14 pm

a model railway is an expensive hobby, and as far as I remember it's always been an expensive hobby, I remember saving up my pocket money for nearly a year just to be able to afford one loco, and that was in the 90s, I also find a lot of the time its a "you get what you pay for" hobby, and also that if you really want something then it's worth the money

anyway in 2020 there's loads of great deals out there, I've seen basic trainsets for £25, you can get basic coaches for £10, basic locos not much more

bachmann mk1 coaches are pretty cheap in loads of places right now ~£24 ish (best price I've seen in years)

I've seen quite a few of the "super detail" locos going for good prices about the place too, a fair few in the £55-£75

yeah track can be expensive, but if you have the time and patience you can build your own for hardly anything, and a lot of the time that brings more satisfaction to the hobby

and as for buildings, the resin moulded ones are absurdly expensive, some kits can seem a little overpriced for what they are, but they're a good learning tool for my next point, as I think everyone should have a go at scratch building their own buildings, its easier than you'd think (I mean I guess some people physically cant for various reasons) when you can build the same things for almost nothing, with a bare minimum of resources

for me personally I think the most annoying financial problem re model railways is not the cost of model railway items, its being able to afford somewhere where you can actually have space to build the bloody thing (no I can't before you ask, my layout is in my parents loft, yes I'm well aware of how lucky I am to have that)


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